Silent auction in Sidmouth makes a big noise for arts therapy charity

Silent Auction at the Woodlands Hotel

Silent Auction at the Woodlands Hotel - Credit: Archant

A silent auction that was rescheduled because of bad weather was a huge success raising more than £1,600 for a youth arts project.

The fundraiser at the Woodlands Hotel in Sidmouth was in aid of the Youth Arts and Health Trust. Around 50 people turned out to put in bids. Others sent in donations.

The charity provides arts therapy to young people aged nine to 25 who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Laura Blatherwick, founder and arts therapist, said: “It was really lovely to meet people and talk about the cause. People were taking a real interest in how we might extend our reach.”

The charity, which has been running for two years, helps about twenty children and young people a week with art and drama therapy sessions. It employs five arts therapists who are fully trained and professionally accredited.

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Sessions are currently run from the youth inquiry service (YES) in Exeter. The aim is to extend the service to people from Sidmouth and East Devon.

Initially, this would be offering expenses for the young people to travel to Exeter but what the charity wants to do is to fund peripatetic therapists to travel to Sidmouth and eventually open a venue there.

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“We offer a safe space where children and young people can come and explore what’s happening to them. That could be overcoming anxiety or depression or processing changes in their life or trauma,” Laura said.

An arts therapist with the NHS, she said she was continually being approached by people looking for something for young people.

“People were looking for something where there was more than just counselling. If you find it difficult to talk, if you’ve suffered something horrific, or if you have autism, then we offer arts therapy. That allows them to use creativity to maybe draw how they feel,” she said.

Among the items that were for sale in the auction were two weekend tickets for the 7s rugby at Sandy Park and a microlight flight at Dunkeswell. As well as meal and spa vouchers.

One of the highlights of the evening was a screening of videographer Kyle Baker’s short film about the work of the charity.

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